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Posted at 08:40 AM ET, 08/25/2011

Steve Jobs resigns: Reactions to the end of an era


Steve Jobs is stepping down as Apple CEO. Apple has named COO Tim Cook as his successor. (Justin Sullivan - Getty Images)Steve Jobs has resigned as Apple’s CEO, a position he’s held since his return to the company in 1997, though he will stay on as chairman. Admired and hated by the tech industry, Jobs, 56, has rebuilt the company he co-founded in 1976, turning it from the brink of bankruptcy into a company responsible for the greatest hits in personal technology: the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.

Apple’s stock took a hit after-hours trading on the news that Jobs is stepping down as CEO, down about 5 percent before the markets open Thursday. But analysts have said that Apple will survive and that they have faith in new CEO Tim Cook, who has effectively been running the company while Jobs has been on medical leave.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Jobs will remain on the board of directors at the Walt Disney Corp.

Here’s what people are saying about Jobs’s announcement this morning:

In their words —

Steve Wozniak to Bloomberg: When he returned to Apple, I wasn’t really sure how that would work out, and I’ve just been totally blown away. I feel that I’m one of the luckiest people in the world to have been able to know this incredibly great person and to have been a friend of his.

Google’s Vic Gundrota: Since I was 11 years old and fell in love with an Apple II, I have dozens of stories to tell about Apple products. They have been a part of my life for decades. Even when I worked for 15 years for Bill Gates at Microsoft, I had a huge admiration for Steve and what Apple had produced.

Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg:

Most people are lucky if they can change the world in one important way, but Jobs, in multiple stages of his business career, changed global technology, media and lifestyles in multiple ways on multiple occasions.

He did it because he was willing to take big risks on new ideas, and not be satisfied with small innovations fed by market research. He also insisted on high quality and had the guts to leave out features others found essential and to kill technologies, like the floppy drive and the removable battery, he decided were no longer needed. And he has been a brilliant marketer, personally passionate about his products.

Robert Scoble: Today’s news fills me with emotion. The kind you can't really explain. It's wrapped up in a lifetime of living in Silicon Valley and it isn't really explainable.

Love him or hate him, Steve Jobs changed my world in major ways. Not many people can say that. Which is why I’m feeling this strange emotion right now that I can’t explain to you in words or actions.

Daring Fireball’s Jon Gruber: Jobs’s greatest creation isn’t any Apple product. It is Apple itself.

And in his —

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.


Electronic emergency services are bridging the gap between understaffed rural hospitals and specialist-saturated urban centers. One example is St. Michael's Hospital Avera, a 25-bed critical access hospital in Tyndall, S.D. It is one of about 60 rural hospitals that has signed up with Avera e-Emergency Services, a hospital-based telemedicine emergency support service.

From its operations hub in Sioux Falls, Avera emergency physicians like Dr. Brian Skow,right, and emergency-trained nurses help rural providers 24 hours a day, The Rural Assistance Center's Candi Helseth reports. They do everything from offer treatment advice to initiate diagnostic testing. "I didn't have any idea this existed," patient Leonard Hajek said. "The nurse pushed a button and just like that this doctor is on a TV screen talking to me."
The technology seems to be paying big dividends in patient care. It has reduced patient length of stay, patient transfers to tertiary-care hospitals and has saved money.
In Northern California, Sutter Health, the first health-care organization to connect a rural hospital to an electronic ICU, has likewise seen improvements in patient outcomes. "Deaths related to sepsis have decreased 28 percent system-wide and ICU patients' lengths of stay have decreased by 15 percent from 2007 to 2010," Helseth reports.
Rural physicians also appreciate the extra help and having access to a second opinion. "It means there is another doctor instantly available who I can consult and who is going to be helping if I need it. It makes me feel like I'm not as isolated practicing here," said Dr. Jill Kruse, family medicine physician at St. Michael's Hospital.

"Medicine isn't meant to be practiced in isolation," said Deanna Larson, vice president of Quality Initiatives and eCARE Services. "There are physicians who want to practice in rural areas but all of a sudden, they're everything to everyone and it's impossible to know every facet of medicine. They need access to peers for support. They also need time to sleep and see their families." (Read more)

Written by Tara Kaprowy

By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, August 18, 8:38 AM

SAN FRANCISCO — Computers, like humans, can learn. But when Google tries to fill in your search box based only on a few keystrokes, or your iPhone predicts words as you type a text message, it’s only a narrow mimicry of what the human brain is capable.


The challenge in training a computer to behave like a human brain is technological and physiological, testing the limits of computer and brain science. But researchers from IBM Corp. say they’ve made a key step toward combining the two worlds.


The company announced Thursday that it has built two prototype chips that it says process data more like how humans digest information than the chips that now power PCs and supercomputers. The chips represent a significant milestone in a six-year-long project that has involved 100 researchers and some $41 million in funding from the government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. IBM has also committed an undisclosed amount of money.


The prototypes offer further evidence of the growing importance of “parallel processing,” or computers doing multiple tasks simultaneously. That is important for rendering graphics and crunching large amounts of data.


The uses of the IBM chips so far are prosaic, such as steering a simulated car through a maze, or playing Pong. It may be a decade or longer before the chips make their way out of the lab and into actual products. But what’s important is not what the chips are doing, but how they’re doing it, says Giulio Tononi, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who worked with IBM on the project.


The chips’ ability to adapt to types of information that it wasn’t specifically programmed to expect is a key feature.


“There’s a lot of work to do still, but the most important thing is usually the first step,” Tononi said in an interview. “And this is not one step, it’s a few steps.”


Technologists have long imagined computers that learn like humans. Your iPhone or Google’s servers can be programmed to predict certain behavior based on past events. But the techniques being explored by IBM and other companies and university research labs around “cognitive computing” could lead to chips that are better able to adapt to unexpected information.


IBM’s interest in the chips lies in their ability to potentially help process real-world signals such as temperature or sound or motion and make sense of them for computers.


IBM, which is based in Armonk, N.Y., is a leader in a movement to link physical infrastructure, such as power plants or traffic lights, and information technology, such as servers and software that help regulate their functions. Such projects can be made more efficient with tools to monitor the myriad analog signals present in those environments.


Dharmendra Modha, project leader for IBM Research, said the new chips have parts that behave like digital “neurons” and “synapses” that make them different than other chips. Each “core,” or processing engine, has computing, communication and memory functions.


“You have to throw out virtually everything we know about how these chips are designed,” he said. “The key, key, key difference really is the memory and the processor are very closely brought together. There’s a massive, massive amount of parallelism.”


The project is part of the same research that led to IBM’s announcement in 2009 that it had simulated a cat’s cerebral cortex, the thinking part of the brain, using a massive supercomputer. Using progressively bigger supercomputers, IBM had previously simulated 40 percent of a mouse’s brain in 2006, a rat’s full brain in 2007, and 1 percent of a human’s cerebral cortex in 2009.


A computer with the power of the human brain is not yet near. But Modha said the latest development is an important step. “It really changes the perspective from ‘What if?’ to ‘What now?’” Modha said. “Today we proved it was possible. There have been many skeptics, and there will be more, but this completes in a certain sense our first round of innovation.”



FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear’s nationally recognized e-transparency website, Open Door, is serving as a model not just for other states, but also for international journalists and government leaders. Nineteen media professionals from Africa will meet Thursday with representatives from the Finance and Administration Cabinet to learn about the searchable portal that enables taxpayers to explore how government money is being spent.

The leaders are part of the International Visitor Leadership Program, and this is the second time Open Door has been selected as a stop for program participants. The website, online at, was nominated for the program by the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. 

Since its inception in 2009, leaders from 20 countries have come to Kentucky to learn about the website.

“I’m very proud of the honors received by Open Door and of my administration’s efforts to make government more accountable and transparent to the people,” Beshear said. “It is an honor to share our success story with international guests so that they may use Open Door as an example to develop similar programs to keep their citizens informed on valuable government information.”

The 19 professionals are from the broadcast journalism and the electronic media. They include political and economic commentators, bloggers, newscasters, editors and government information officers. 

The U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program brings international visitors, selected by U.S. Embassies around the world, to the United States for a three-week educational tour as a part of its premier professional exchange program.

From the KPA News Content Service“Open Door is an excellent example of a state program that showcases transparency and effective interaction between government and citizens. Freedom of information is very significant to the international participants,” said Xiao Yin, visitor program manager for the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. “Democracy is an important topic for the program since it is lacking in the home countries of many of these visitors where they are threatened, sometimes even by their own government. They want to learn how to incorporate similar practices demonstrated by Open Door into their own reporting.”

Open Door has been recognized on multiple occasions as a national leader in setting the standard for spending transparency on government expenditures.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest advocacy organization, has twice recognized the site as a leader in setting the standard for spending transparency on government expenditures. Its most recent report on the transparency of state spending called Kentucky a “pioneer” that has “taken strides to remain at the head of the pack.” 

In a report published on June 2, 2010 by The Center for Study of Responsive Law, a nonprofit organization that researches government and corporate accountability, Kentucky was recognized as a national leader for transparency in state contracts for publishing the full text of state contracts.

In the spring of 2008, Beshear issued an Executive Order establishing the e-Transparency Task Force; a 14-member bipartisan panel charged with providing a more transparent, accountable state government. On Jan. 1, 2009, Kentucky’s Open Door was launched after a concerted, multi-agency effort, led by officials of the Finance and Administration Cabinet. 

Since the site was first launched, improvements and enhancements have steadily been made. Visitors can find comprehensive details on state contracts, and up-to-date data on state employee salaries. Users have the option to download expenditure records by fiscal year or by a search that they create. In January 2010, the judicial branch joined the e-transparency website. Open Door currently hosts information from both the executive and judicial branches, and all of Kentucky’s constitutional officers.

“Open Door is a comprehensive, user-friendly way for anyone to track how the Commonwealth is spending valuable tax dollars, which promotes both accountability and efficiency,” said Lori H. Flanery, secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet. “The website itself is a great example of containing government spending as only existing state resources were used to create the award winning site. No new funds were specifically dedicated to develop Open Door.”


Online video isn’t just for adults, with kids able to operate and enjoy content via their laptops, games consoles, and other connected devices in the same way as their parents do. But the user interfaces are rarely what you’d call child-friendly.

Netflix’ Streaming Future

Netflix has made it clear that its future is one where streaming reigns supreme. DVDs are dead, folks, so get over it. Delivering movies and television shows over the Web to a range of devices is faster, cheaper, and more compatible with a rapid international expansion.

If the company is heading down this route, and it most certainly is, then it has to make its ‘Watch Instantly’ service the best it can possibly be. And that means catering to every group of people and every member of the family. Including the youngest members. After all, the children are our future, as someone once sang.

Children are often as geeky or even more geeky than their parents these days. After all, they’ve grown up in the Internet age, afforded the luxury of instant information other generations could only dream of. So Netflix would do well to look after them…

‘Just For Kids’ UI

That is exactly what the company has now done, debuting ‘Just For Kids’. This is a section made specially for children, with all the content they will love and that parents will be happy to let them watch collated into one category.

Rather than being organized by title, the content is organized by characters, as that is how kids recognize the shows they love and watch over and over again.

‘Just For Kids’ is friendly for all kids aged 12 and under, and it is going to be rolled out on all Netflix connected devices over time. For now it is only available on PC and Mac in the U.S. and Canada.


There are some commenters on the blog post suggesting that rather than making a separate section for kids that Netflix just improves the parental controls so that it’s less convoluted to restrict and release content on a regular basis.

That is clearly an issue that needs looking at, but ‘Just For Kids’ is a good start, introducing the youngest members of the family to the joy of online video at an early age.